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An update from our Chief Executive

Published: 21 May 2020

Photo of Iain Munro by Neil Hanna

Photograph: Iain Munro, by Neil Hanna

It is clear that this year will be the most challenging yet seen for the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland. The creative sector is in a crisis like never before.

Based on the evidence so far, many of our organisations, companies and venues are being forced to contemplate their ability to continue, putting at risk the livelihoods of the thousands of people employed and the thousands of artists and creative practitioners commissioned.

Access to UK and Scottish Government emergency support, along with flexibility over Creative Scotland’s existing resources and the introduction of new funds, have been quickly put in place and are reaching those in urgent need. However, the scale and severity of the challenges being faced by people and organisations across the arts, screen and creative industries in the months ahead is daunting to address.

Easing of lockdown restrictions is likely to happen in stages, and with social distancing measures necessary for a long time to come, the ability for people to come together in traditional cultural spaces will be hard to manage and, particularly for the many organisations who are reliant on high levels of earned income, extremely challenging to make viable. This means the cultural sector, particularly where live audiences are vital, will take longer to recover.

Creative Scotland has an important role to play as part of a broader ecology of support and I want to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to secure further resources to help stabilise the current situation and adapt to a new future.

We continue to meet regularly with sector development bodies* and the Scottish Government to map the impacts being felt and draw on the data we hold alongside sector surveys being undertaken. It is clear that it may not be possible to meet everyone’s needs and some radical thinking will be required, but we will continue to work together to tackle the challenges.

The publication by the Scottish Government of a National Culture Strategy just prior to lockdown was a significant step in recognising the significant cultural, social and economic contribution of the sector. I believe this is amplified even more in this current context where culture and creativity have never been more important to the wellbeing and prosperity of the country and must play a vital part in the process of recovery and renewal for everyone in Scotland.

I will continue to regularly update on our progress. In the meantime, please do look after yourselves, your friends and families, and keep safe.

Very Best Wishes

Iain Munro
Chief Executive

* Sector development bodies:

  • Artlink Edinburgh
  • Arts and Business Scotland
  • Craft Scotland
  • Culture Counts
  • Federation of Scottish Theatre
  • Festivals Edinburgh
  • Publishing Scotland
  • sca-net
  • Scottish Book Trust
  • Scottish Government
  • Scottish Music Industry Association